Cheap vegetarian breakfast for two

Using my 4-cup Cuisinart Rice Cooker, I was able to successfully make a great breakfast that would easily serve two, or just yourself, with a second portion left over for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Hands off

I love the hands off aspect of this. I’m not a morning person, and I’m often doing several things at a time. My little Cuisinart does the work while I nurse a double espresso. Win!

The meal and prep

1 rice cooker cup* of Bob’s Steel Cut Oatmeal

3 rice cooker cups of water

3 tablespoons of raisins

A pinch of salt

A sprinkle of cinnamon

2 eggs, still in shell

Place the oats, cinnamon, salt, raisins, and water in the cooking bowl of the rice cooker.

Place the steamer basket over the cooking bowl, with the holes in the bottom.

Place the two eggs in the steamer basket, and add the lid.

The steamer basket will be sticking up out of the rice cooker — NOT how it is pictured in the image in this blog post.

Plug in. Press cook. Walk away.

About 25 minutes later, the cooker will move to “keep warm.” At this point, remove your eggs, immerse in cool water for a few minutes, then peel.

Stir the oatmeal – you’ll see a bit of liquid on top when you first open the lid, but it will stir right in. Measure half into a bowl for yourself, top with a drizzle of agave syrup. Spoon the other half into another bowl if you’re cooking for two, or into a bowl that has a lid for you to save for tomorrow’s meal.

Per serving – which is half the oatmeal and one of the eggs – this is about 330 calories, about 55ish carbs, 16 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat.

*If you’ve lost your rice cooker cup, it holds 3/4 cup Imperial Measure

Via Flickr:

Sounds good on the surface, right?

Today’s Cincinnati Enquirer reports that a regional company is putting more Vitamin D in their bread. Sounds heroic, doesn’t it?

But, not so fast…..

78 Million Americans No Longer Need Vitamin D … Maybe reports that a number of Americans no longer need Vitamin D. Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine has released research that indicates many Americans are no longer beneath the recommended guidelines for daily Vitamin D intake. I  wonder if these researchers have been talking with the researchers who have mentioned that women no longer need breast cancer mammogram screenings in their 40′s and that many men may no longer need the prostate cancer screening lab test referred to as a PSA test?

Save money and appear heroic

According to Food Navigator, a Canadian yeast company petitioned the FDA in 2009 and got approval to up the amount of Vitamin D in its yeast. Would following this slippery trail further would yield a motivation that is all about money – a way to cheapen their process, their cost, etc.? The bonus is looking heroic to those who don’t bother to ask a few questions or understand what is really an appropriate level of Vitamin D in Americans’ diets.  Lallemand and Klosterman care first about their profits, stretching their dollars, and place less value on the nutritional value of their product.

After all, when is the last time that a food company did something because they truly cared about the public’s health? Bonus read – The Extraordinary Science of Junk Food, from The New York Times, which outlines how food companies engineer their products for maximum appeal.

Simple low-carb vegetarian lunch

A simple baked egg for lunch. It’s like a hug for your tummy!

Don’t know how to bake an egg? It’s simple:

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray spray an individual ramekin or custard cup with cooking spray.

Gently crack an egg into the cup. Do not beat or wisk!

Spoon 1 or 2 tablespoons of skim milk or fat free half and half over the egg, and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.

If baking multiple eggs, place ramekins on a baking sheet to make it a bit easier to get in and out of the oven – 1 egg per ramekin/cup.

Bake for 15 minutes or until white is completely set and yolk is still a bit runny.


Variation: add a pinch of grated parmesan cheese to the cup after the addition of the milk or cream.

Great low carb vegetarian small meal


For two veggie dogs in two pickle halves – 108 total calories and 6 total carbs. #lowcarb #vegetarian for the win!


Prepare dogs as directed on package. While dogs are cooking, slightly scoop out some of the center of each pickle half, making a cradle for the dog to rest in.


Cutting carbs? You can do that and still go veg!

Salad greens two ways by liza31337
Salad greens two ways, a photo by liza31337 on Flickr.

Many people think vegetarians and vegans are doomed to gain weight because they’re eating lots of carbs. It is possible to reduce your carbs on a vegetarian diet. You just need to know what to eat and what to avoid.

The lowest

This list of the lowest carb veggies comes from’s Low Carb Diets site. The full page and resource is located here.

Low-Carb Vegetables

This list is roughly arranged from lowest to highest carbohydrate counts, but all are non-starchy and generally low in carbohydrates. Exact carb count depends on serving size. Remember when counting carbs in vegetables that the fiber is not counted, and can be subtracted from the total.

Sprouts (bean, alfalfa, etc.)

Greens – lettuce, spinach, chard, etc.

Hearty Greens – collards, mustard greens, kale, etc.

Radicchio and endive count as greens

Herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.

Bok Choy

Bamboo Shoots



Sea Vegetables (Nori, etc)


Cabbage (or sauerkraut)





Cucumbers (or pickles without added sugars)

Green Beans and Wax Beans





Green Bell Peppers

Red Bell Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers

Summer Squash


Brussels Sprouts

Scallions or green onions

Snow Peas/Snap Peas/Pea Pods








Spaghetti Squash

Celery Root (Celeriac)




Which to avoid?

Also on the’s Low Carb Diets site is a listing of the highest carb vegetables:

Carrots (some diets flag carrots as a problem, though they are lower in carbs than others in this group)



Winter Squashes, such as acorn and butternut

Water Chestnuts


Potatoes in all forms

Sweet Potatoes



I don’t understand why winter squashes such as butternut and acorn are considered high carb, but pumpkin and spaghetti squash are low carb. If you know the answer, I’d love for you to share it in the comments.

T-Day sides

I tried three low-carb recipes for Thanksgiving this year that were new tastes for my family, and all three were warmly received:

  • Rosemary Roasted Radishes
  • Pumpkin Bisque
  • Cauliflower Gratin

(Check ‘em out at the blog here.)

It was a nice offset to all the high-carb fare that you can’t avoid on Thanksgiving, such as stuffing, mashed potatoes and warm dinner rolls.

Scared of Seitan?

I don’t blame you. Fake meat is just….well, for a new(ish) vegetarian or vegan…weird!

Choose wisely

A few things I’ve learned about faux meats:

    • Some people do well with one, and not as well with another. For example, I love tofu, but I don’t digest it as well.


    • Different recipes call for different solutions. Seitan played nicely in my vegan chili tonight, but tofu or tempeh might have not behaved as well. For example, some faux meats get tough fast, so you want to add them late in the cooking process.


    • The sauce is everything. Faux meats don’t have much taste on their own. They’ll take on the character of whatever sauce is flavoring your dish. Marinating may help!


You’ve got choices

Not sure what to try in the faux meat department? Boca Chik’n Patties or Burgers are a good choice for new veggies. Expand your repertoire to include tofu, tempeh, seitan, and TVP (textured vegetable protein).

Quick, easy Israeli Salad

Israeli Salad by lynn.gardner
Israeli Salad, a photo by lynn.gardner on Flickr.

I love Israeli Salad, and it’s truly a snap to put together. It makes a delightful side dish at a meal, or stuff it into a pita for a light and satisfying lunch.


6 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1 red or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes (I slice in half)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
5 green onions sliced thin (include white and green portions)
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
Juice of two large lemons
Ground black pepper
A pinch or two of sumac (to taste)
A drizzle of olive oil


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Just a drizzle of olive oil is needed with this salad – ignore other recipes that call for 1/4 or 1/2 cup of the stuff as it is way too much and makes the salad high in fat.

If you are not familiar with sumac, it’s a tart seasoning that is a common condiment on Middle Eastern tables. It has a lemony or vinegar-like flavor.

Via Flickr:
"Israeli Salad" from Joan Zoloth’s Jewish Holiday Treats: Recipes & Crafts for the Whole Family (Chronicle Books, 2000). I love this cookbook.

Slow Cooker soups

Crockpotluck! by _e.t
Crockpotluck!, a photo by _e.t on Flickr.

It’s raining buckets here today, which makes it a perfect morning to start a pot of Split Pea and Parsnip soup in my slow cooker.

Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker

Robin Robertson’s book, Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker is full of simple, delicious vegetarian recipes like this one that come together in a snap.


I still fail to understand why some folks (mostly women, in my personal experience) don’t like the slow cooker. They feel it’s kitchy or cheesey or just uncool. I don’t get it.

The slow cookers in my house get a regular workout, and save my vegetarian bacon on a regular basis. Even though I work from home as an online business manager and virtual assistant, I put in busy, long days. At the end of the day, I’m as tired as the next gal who’s been out in a brick and mortar office all day.

Starting dinner in the slow cooker in the morning, before my day gets going, means a hot, healthy veggie meal at the end of the day. Add to the mix that I’ve got a senior in high school with a crazy schedule, and you’ll further understand my slow cooker appreciation. Dinner is ready when we need it to be, even if we’re all eating at slightly different times.

What’s your favorite?

There are a number of wonderful slow cooker recipes out there for vegetarians and vegans. I’d love you to share yours, or your favorite cookbook, in the comments.

Save a life today

It isn’t very often that a book has the power to save a life. Yes, good books can improve lives, shape lives, even change lives. But when was the last time a book literally helped save a life? If you’re reading this page, the answer is right now.

The Domino Project in conjunction with Box of Crayons is working with Malaria No More to help end malaria.

They’re doing this by giving $20 from the purchase of each copy of End Malaria to Malaria No More to send a mosquito net to a family in need and to support life-saving work in the fight against malaria.

In addition to saving lives, buying this book means you can enjoy essays by 62 of America’s favorite business authors, including Tom Peters, Nicholas Carr, Pam Slim, and Sir Ken Robinson. Organized into three main sections – Focus, Courage, and Resilience – all essays in End Malaria share a desire to inspire readers to look within themselves for solutions to their everyday dilemmas and for motivation to realize their desires.

At its core, End Malaria is about doing great work, and there’s no better work than saving a life. Please share this book with your friends, family, and coworkers, and encourage them to join this quest.

Macaroni and Vegan Cheese

Macaroni and Vegan Cheese by Just Nora
Macaroni and Vegan Cheese, a photo by Just Nora on Flickr.



1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons Earth Balance Margarine
3 tablespoons unbleached flour
1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 pinch turmeric
1 teaspoon yellow mustard (as in the kind you’d put on a sandwich)
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
One 8-oz package Daiya Cheddar Flavor Cheese shreds
2 cups uncooked shells or other small macaroni product of your choice
Italian-seasoned panko bread crumbs to taste (I use Progresso brand)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray inside of a two-quart casserole with cooking spray.

Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain and put in casserole dish.

Saute onion and garlic in Earth Balance Margarine until onion is transparent and tender but not browned. Stir in the flour, garlic salt, dried mustard powder, turmeric. Whisk in the almond milk, gently continuing to whisk until there are no more lumps. Add the yellow mustard and soy sauce and continue to stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens, similar to making gravy.

When the sauce is thickened slightly, add the Daiya shreds and stir until melted and well-blended. Taste the sauce and adjust with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove cheese sauce from the burner and pour over the macaroni in the casserole. Gently stir to thoroughly combine the shells and sauce.

Lightly sprinkle panko crumbs over the surface of the casserole, then bake the uncovered casserole in the 350 F oven for 30 minutes.

© 2011 Nora Rubinoff all rights reserved